A/N: Cooould have written more baby type fic but noooo, my brain's a dick. Post - TATM.
Comments and feedback always greatly appreciated.
"I'll tell her to write an afterword. For you. Maybe you'll listen to her." She pauses for a moment, waiting. For a word, a correction, a gesture.
He doesn't say anything, he doesn't disagree, he doesn't acknowledge.
He lets her go.
(A stitch loosens.)
She hears the door slam behind his exit.
She sets up in the library, pages strewn before her, a book to be that she hates she hates she hates flowing from her fingertips. A typewriter with ancient keys that keep catching. She doesn't care, she wants to hammer at something, hit and punch.
Here is where he finds her. Hours, days, minutes later. She doesn't know. It doesn't feel like it matters.
He won't come in, just stands in the doorway, his gaze away, far. Not with her.
(A thread unties.)
"Where are we?"
"When. I meant…when." She digs the heels of her hands into her eyes. She feels as though she's fighting something back, she doesn't know what.
(She is tired.
And tired of…
Her hearts hurt.)
She is asking when they are. (She is asking where she sleeps. She is so tired.)
"We didn't check diaries earlier. I may have said some things I shouldn't." (One thing. Husband. Stupid stupid mistakes. Spoilers. She hopes she hasn't spoiled them.)
He looks at her, finally. "You didn't. Wife."
She exhales a breath from deep inside. She feels her lungs expand. Her husband is looking at his wife. It should matter more right now.
Nothing feels right now.
"I'm going to bed." The pages scatter as she stands. She lets them. Her parents' fate at her feet. She walks over them.
He lets her go.
(A ribbon unbinds.)
She tears off her (mourning) dress, the corset fasteners torn and shredded. It pools at her feet. (It will never be worn again.)
A shirt that might have once been his, or is hers now through custom, is buttoned messily, incorrectly, to cover her skin.
The lights dim, but do not extinguish. (The TARDIS never leaves her in the dark.)
She lies on her side of their bed, time drags across her body. The TARDIS tries to lull her to sleep, an ethereal hum to quiet her mind.
She stares at the ceiling.
A thousand years, a minute, a month later the bed dips with his weight. She doesn't know when he came in, when he removed his jacket, his bow tie.
A chasm between them.
"I'm not sad for me, I'm sad for you." (For now. For here. She doesn't know who she's trying to convince. The TARDIS murmurs.)
"They were your parents."
"They're still my parents. And they're together." (She is sad. And happy, in a way that hurts to feel it. They're together, going forward. She is jealous, too, a little. She stamps it down.)
She doesn't say like us. She doesn't feel it, not right now.
Not right now.
(Her left heart runs; pumps and races and flees. Her right heart loves; and it is maimed and shredded.)
Her patchwork heart is breaking, ripping along the seams she'd stitched together (where she'd sewn in Rory and Amy and him). Bleeding out with every beat. Her ribs feel sticky.
She feels like she's drowning inside herself. She coughs a laugh that startles him.
Rivers don't drown.
They swell and burst their banks. And destroy everything around them.
Everything around her.
She'll destroy him.
She needs to run.)
"I told her to go. And I'd do it again. She had to take the risk, to be with him. Even if it didn't work, she had to try."
"She would have been safe if she stayed."
"No, my love. She wouldn't have been." (Safe, or Amy. Not if she hadn't tried. Not if she'd stayed.)
"You could have made her stay. You don't know that she would have gone if you'd…"
(She does she does she achingly does as she thinks of pyramids and universes that never were and ripping time apart just to yell love at the man beside her. She is her mother's daughter. Amy would have gone regardless. She will love her always for it.)
He's just talking now, making noises, rambling and saying things that he hasn't thought through, words and words and words. He pulls threads he doesn't realise have lost their tension. He undoes her by accident of misplaced attention.
"You could have gone with them." (He says could. She hears should. Her heart completes unravelling.)
She misses the crack in his voice. Her ears too full of misheard meanings. Her chest too full of jumbled pieces.
(He's saying could as his hearts break at the idea of it. He's already lost her once, back, at the start. What if she'd gone with them?
He's missing the point.
She always chooses him.
She would have jumped.)
She feels the adrenaline start to surge in her veins. She stands as he reaches for her, a foot away from the bed before he realises she is moving. (The TARDIS moans.)
"River," his voice is startled and afraid. "You're crying."
"No," she denies because she doesn't believe it is true. She doesn't cry (in front of him.) She doesn't cry. (How can she be crying when her loving heart is dead? She feels nothing but the urge to run.) She doesn't cry (…and yet. Her face is wet.)
"No." She backs away. He cannot he cannot he cannot see this. She won't permit it.
He is fast and desperate but not enough to catch her.
He lets her go.
To beat her to console room.
A stalemate now. A standoff. He is almost blocking her way. Almost.
Her fingers twitch.
She darts as quickly as she can to reach the doors, the latch cold and secure beneath her fingers.
The TARDIS holds her safe and will not open the doors as she rattles at the handle, whispered supplications of please and open and please again, oh please. He turns her around, softly, gently. She tries to turn her face away, the tears still streaking. His forehead rests against her temple, his hands gripping her wrists.
"Let me go." (The TARDIS howls.)
"Never, River. Never," he wraps the words and his arms around her.
A decade, a second, a millennium passes. She stills and eases and acquiesces. Her mother is lost to her now, gone gone forever gone. Her father. (Rory who had grounded her on 17 occasions. Rory who kept her favourite tea by the kettle. Rory who, without question or comment, held her hand on days when she showed up silent and solemn.)
"They're gone." The reality of it empties her out, she sags against him (and he against her.)
"You're not." His voice is hot against her cheek. (You're here, with me. Don't leave.)
She feels his mind reaching for hers, she flinches and he stops. (He's so haphazard with words, too little too much too wrong when he's trying too hard to be right. But…she knows how he feels about this, about her, about them.)
He reaches for her again. She lets him in.
Her senses explode. The pain, the piercing in her (right) heart as he tries to stitch it back together. He intertwines their lives into the muscle, threads it with his love for her. With the grief too, that they're both suffering. She can feel him sewing her back up, stemming the bleeding, healing her (and them) as best he can.
She pushes him back softly, reclaiming herself and space. She smiles at him and it is real and true and trimmed with a sadness that will take time to pass. It is mirrored on the man smiling back.
"You're not wearing any shoes."
She glances down and laughs "Or trousers, dear." (The TARDIS croons.)
He crooks an eyebrow at her, half a shrug and guilty grin. She kisses him.
She doesn't say I love you (nor does he). It doesn't need saying, it is being felt too keenly.
The latch behind her unclicks. She can leave if she chooses.